"A big middle earth that sticks out into the Mediterranean like a wharf. An archipelago of places. Neither cities nor outskirts". These are the words marking the start of architect Mario Cucinella’s voyage in the documentary film "L'Altro Spazio viaggio nelle aree interne dell'Italia" (“The Other Space: A voyage through Italy’s interior”), produced by Someone and RAI Cinema and directed by Marcello Pastonesi and Carlo Furgeri Gilbert.
That "middle earth" is Italy, “an archipelago of places” as architect Mario Cucinella calls it, giving the title “Arcipelago Italia” to the exhibition he curated in the Italian Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at Biennale di Venezia.
The documentary film represents the ideal continuation and completion of the exhibition, telling the story of the architect’s voyage through inland Italy. These are territories whose heterogeneous cultural identity, highly diversified landscape and, in many cases, distance from essential services can play a strategic role and become a key theme for relaunching Italy as a country. Architecture is a very important tool in these areas, especially in relation to sustainability, an area in which Mario Cucinella is in harmony with the Iris Ceramica Group. The leading ceramics manufacturer and technical sponsor of the Italian Pavilion at Biennale di Venezia 2018 dedicated the eighth edition of its Next Landmark internationale contest, entitled “Pollution 2019: Architecture for a Sustainable Future”, precisely to the search for projects and visions for sustainable contemporary living, offering a prize consisting of a one-year scholarship at SOS - School of Sustainability in Bologna, founded by Mario Cucinella MC A.
Arcipelago Italia, the theme and exhibition at the Italian Pavilion curated by Mario Cucinella for Biennale di Venezia 2018, had the great merit of drawing the attention of a vast public to the country’s interior. Continuing in the same direction, the documentary tells the story of Mario Cucinella’s voyage through the interior of Italy, through places far removed from the country’s metropolitan and urban areas where the relationship between the urban dimension and the land has always been different. "No longer metropolitan city, no longer suburb, but the immense space representing 60% of the country”, says Mario Cucinella; territories where the communities and cultural heritages of inestimable value that have made Italy what it is today developed, with all the country’s wealth, “its great weakness” and its great difference with respect to the “social unity” of the great European nations, as historian Fernand Braudel puts it.
Cucinella’s voyage begins in Venice, crossing the Alps, the Apennines and the islands, representing the particular themes of various places partly through the people he meets. An encounter with a shepherd who still performs transhumance in the Murge, for example, introduces us to the issue of sustainable mobility throughout the area of Matera, European cultural capital of 2019, and the Basento valley. Other interesting encounters introduce the strategic areas featured in five experimental projects by the interdisciplinary collective chosen and coordinated by Mario Cucinella for Arcipelago Italia.
The first screening of "L'Altro Spazio viaggio nelle aree interne dell'Italia" takes place this evening, 25 January 2019, at Cineteca di Bologna.